Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Morning in Samarkand: the Ruhabad Mosque

...I started telling about my visit to Samarkand in September, and at last I came to finishing this short story. My walk only lasted for a couple of hours in the morning before work, but it takes me very long to write about it... however I promised to my friend that I will finish the story.

After marveling at Gur-e Emir Mausoleum, I started walking in the direction of the hotel, and saw a minaret on the right ahead of me. As I still had some time left, I let my curiosity lead me there.

So, there was this minaret with beautiful carved wooden doors, secured with a modern-looking padlock.

There were some roses around, much beloved by our poets, and old trees that would not let me see the mosque in its entirety. So, you will also see just bits and pieces, the way I saw it.

I stepped inside the small unfenced yard, and found myself in the beautiful shade provided by huge mulberry and fig trees. I love the sun spots on the old stone stairs... And can you see the box for collecting money for maintenance of the mosque? Everyone gives as much as he or she can, and I always put some money inside, too.

I love fig leaves, with their sandpaper feel and astringent smell. I can stand under a fig tree for hours, it seems, cooling down and feeling tension go away.

The roof of the mosque has beautiful details.

...and the inside part is beautiful, as well. All of the painted patterns have a ritual meaning. They will correspond to various meaningful figures, like the number of sura in Koran, the number of the Prophet's descendants, etc. 

There are eight doors to the inside of the mosque, like there are eight doors to the Heaven.

In the shaded yard, there are two big wooden couches (takhta or topchan). They are wonderful for having rest with a cup of tea. They put thick blankets on them (you can see one blanket - kurpa - on the couch on the left, but it is just one, and there should be many), some throw pillows, and in the center they put a low rectangle table. People will sit or recline, drinking tea with sweets, such as sugared nuts, milk nougat and dried fruits, almonds and pistachios, and then they can take a nap right there.

While moving slowly around and seeing the mosque in bits and pieces, fascinated by its quiet beauty and the play of shadows, I met a mullah - a Tajik man in his forties, with a noble face, sad eyes and a tired voice of someone who has to talk too much and does not enjoy it. He was very friendly, and told me a little about the mosque in his quiet slow voice.

It is called Ruhabad Mesjidi (Mosque Ruhabad) and dates to 1800-1820. It was a local area mosque, built to serve houses nearby, and it is close to a medrese (a religious school) and Ruhabad mausoleum. Ruhabad Mosque still functions, and the small minaret is in use - they call believers to prayer from the top of it. It stands close to the Ruhabad Mausoleum which is much older (dating to 1380), and to the Ruhabad medrese (a religious school).

This was a beautiful place, empty and serene, and I enjoyed that half an hour I spent there. After that, there was a long day, and we traveled through a desert and across hills before arriving to Karshi to take a plane home. But traveling in the desert is a different story.


  1. Those wooden doors ares so beautiful! And the rose is so pretty :)

  2. Очень красивые детали, архитектура, чудесный рассказ, Мне очень понравились фотографии, как будто побывала там :)

    1. Спасибо, Кать. Правда, странно, что нет фото общего плана - но их и в сети нет. Похоже, не только у меня были сложности с общим планом этой мечети. Там идешь, как по лабиринту - то один кусочек откроется, то другой. Ну и еще деревья закрывают.

  3. Очень красиво! давно мечтаю там побывать!

  4. Beautiful mosque! Really liked the article.

  5. What a gorgeous place! The details on the building are incredible.

  6. Oh my Goodness, what a wonderful, atmospheric post!!!!
    Thank you so much for this wonderful trip in words and images... You have me dreaming again..... I feel like I'm there, under those beautiful trees, in these shady, dreamy spots where time seems to stand still and the ancient mystique and fascination of those marvelous lands comes alive... *sigh*

  7. How lovely! I felt like I was right there with you.

  8. Cool! It's my dream to visit Samarkand one day :)


Please say a few words if you feel like it - I will be very happy to read your comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...